The Hot Frites bars of Holland & Belgium sparked the idea behind Hot Chip although the UK is not exactly devoid of take outs celebrating the glories of the fried potato. What makes Hot Chip different is the pimping up that goes on behind its seemingly unexciting exterior opposite the famous Gardeners Pub and Murderers Bar in Norwich.
Leaving the Theatre Royal late at night we felt in need of some dirty food to provide a balance to all the high culture and Hot Chip excels at providing this. Their chips might be fried in clean rapeseed oil (which is a lot healthier) and made from locally sourced premium potatoes but by the time they have been artfully layered with any number of other foods and garnishes these babies are as far removed from a health food as Jamie Oliver is from tact. Chunks of succulent hot salt beef, wedges of vinegary gherkin, overflowing mustard mayo and Swiss Cheese melting and oozing over a pile of chunky chips barely contained in a US style cardboard take out box left us unable to move from the bench outside the Murderers Bar (where they allow you to take your chips).
Choose from a mix and match menu of worldwide ‘delicacies’ like ‘Turkish Delight’- chips encrusted with dry fried spicy lamb and yoghurt mint sauce; ‘Veggie’ coming with a side of Haloumi cheese pan fried until squeaky and charred, soused with mango salsa and piled onto chips; The Grizzly Bear, popular with ale soaked men features Canadian cheese sauce, ham, grated Cheddar, spring onions and of course, chips. Or go simple and have a box of chips spiced with cumin, sumach, pepper and other spices or the ‘Seaside Classic’- sprinkled with Aspalls vinegar.
Yes they are delicious. Yes you end up rooting around in the bottom of the take out box like a bear gone mad in the city bins. Yes they are best eaten NOT sober. And yes, we will need to do a low cal penance for like, a year. But as with all sins, boy it felt good at the time. And we will be back.